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Friday, January 21, 2011
Updated: January 25, 9:56 AM ET
NFL preview: Defense wins championships


The old adage "defense wins championships" will certainly ring true this Super Bowl XLV. We know this because all four remaining teams are defensive juggernauts that ended the regular season in the top 10 in total yards allowed. Just look at the storied names these defenses have blitzed right out of postseason: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Michael Vick and Matt Ryan. So what does that mean for Sunday's NFC and AFC Championships? That's why I'm here.

Green Bay at Chicago: Chicago's home-field advantage includes one of most rousing national anthems in recent history. But Green Bay has Aaron Rodgers, and how the Bears adjust to his seemingly super-human abilities will determine the outcome of this one. The Bears are speedy -- especially up front -- but Rodgers is the king of eluding the rush and still concocting the best play possible. And he's one of the few quarterbacks that can absolutely tear apart the Bears' Cover 2. The Bears offensive line has been ridiculed all season, but it has shown much improvement over the past several weeks, and Mike Martz's system is working big time these days. But still, I can't get over Aaron Rodgers as the X factor in this one.

Green Bay 31, Chicago 17

New York Jets at Pittsburgh: If you're a football purist, this is the game for you. The best offensive line in the league (Jets) vs. the best defensive line in the league (Steelers). Jets running back Shonn Greene has reverted back to his early-season rough-and-tumble form as of late, and combined with L.T. mixing it up, I say extremely slight advantage to the Jets in the trench department. But Ben Roethlisberger is really gelling, and I believe he'll adjust to pressure when need be by only holding on to the ball for an extra 10 seconds instead of his usual 15. Mark Sanchez, for all his late-game heroics, is going to be too rattled all day to play Superman again. Close game, but Steelers prevail -- dare I say in overtime on a Troy Polamalu pick six? I guess I just did.

Pittsburgh 23, New York Jets 17

While I'm 99.9 percent certain these will be the final scores, I'd love to get your prognostications as well.